Sleeping Habits of the Rich & Famous (2024)

Sleeping Habits of the Rich & Famous (1)

In 2012, CNN Money reported that the secret to wealth, fame, and success could be found in sleeping less. From Martha Stewart to Thomas Edison, many of the world’s most influential, innovative, and successful people report sleeping less and working more as the secret to their success in life.

On the other hand, famous world leaders like Winston Churchill report enjoying “a non-negotiable” nap each afternoon. For Churchill, it was an essential routine that involved enjoying a hot bath and at least two hours of sleep. He claimed it gave him “at least one and a half” days in one and massively boosted his productivity.

It’s clear that the sleep habits of historical figures and famous celebrities are, to put it simply, all over the place. We looked at eight famous figures, from political leaders to famous artists, to learn how their sleep habits contributed to their successes and creative output.

Salvador Dali’s “slumber with a key” trick

Surrealist painter Salvador Dali found the secret to unlocking his creativity in what he described as ancient routine pioneered by Capuchin monks. His secret sleeping technique was simple: fall asleep for no longer than one second.

Dali’s carried out his one-second naps using a creative technique: he would place a key in his hand, with a large plate directly underneath. He would then fall asleep in an armchair and, upon falling asleep, drop the key onto the plate and wake up.

This bizarre napping technique may have inspired his creativity. Doctors believe that hypnagogia – the state halfway between wakefulness and sleep – inspires creativity. Thomas Edison and Richard Wagner also reportedly used this trick.

Margaret Thatcher’s four-hour sleep schedule

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s legacy of stern, persistent politics even extended to her own sleep schedule. The Iron Lady reportedly slept just four hours each night, often keeping her aides up late working on speeches and reports.

Lady Thatcher’s press secretary Sir Bernard Ingham reports that she was awake and ready at five every morning to listen to Farming Today, despite often going to bed at two or three in the morning.

John F Kennedy’s relaxed Presidential routine

John F Kennedy may have been one of the youngest Presidents in US history, but his sleep habits were far from bright and youthful. Kennedy spent his morning working out and swimming before eating lunch and retreating to his bedroom for a nap.

The President’s naps were serious business – short of a serious emergency, his staff were instructed not to interrupt him, his telephone calls were held until 3PM, and his meetings were pushed back into the late afternoon and evening.

Kennedy reportedly introduced his Vice President and successor, Lyndon Johnson, to napping. In contrast with Kennedy’s relaxed schedule, ‘LBJ’ worked two shifts a day and was frequently at his desk as late as two in the morning.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “sleep faster” strategy

Arnold Schwarzenegger is certainly ambitious. The Austrian-born actor has reached the pinnacle of success in three different careers: as a bodybuilder, an actor, and as a politician.

His secret to success is simple: sleep faster”. The former Mr Olympia sleeps just six hours a night so that he has at least 18 hours of productive time during the day. The seven-time bodybuilding champion reportedly spent as much time in the gym as he did in bed during his early career.

Leonardo da Vinci’s polyphasic catnapping

Italian Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci’s CV reads like an adventure novel. At various times in his life, the artistic genius was a musician, an architect, a sculptor, an engineer, a painter, a writer, a botanist, a mathematician, and an inventor.

How did he achieve so much? By spending less than three hours a day asleep, and always splitting his sleep into short 15-30 minute naps. Da Vinci was an example of a polyphasic sleeper – someone who spreads their sleep throughout the day.

Most historians believe that da Vinci’s unusual sleep schedule was the result of his incredible curiosity, and that he was so motivated to keep producing designs and artwork that sleep had to be sacrificed. His sleep schedule is now known as the Da Vinci sleep schedule and is a popular system for polyphasic sleepers.

Florence Nightingale’s four-hour nights

Known as the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale was another light sleeper. The medical reformer spent just four hours a night asleep before rising to attend to the day’s tasks.

Amazingly, Ms Nightingale’s short sleep schedule wasn’t (and still isn’t) considered unhealthy. New York University psychologist Joyce Walsleben claims that everyone has different sleep requirements and that there’s no magic number. Ms Nightingale lived until 90, indicating that short sleep doesn’t necessarily mean bad health.

Winston Churchill’s obsession with afternoon sleep

Unlike most nappers, Winston Churchill was neither ashamed nor concerned about his need for sleep. The wartime prime minister spent most of the late afternoon in bed, rising at 6:30PM to deal with the day’s work.

Churchill was oddly proud of his physical laziness, famously attributing his success in life to his odd sleep habits. When asked about his secret to success, he replied:

Sleeping Habits of the Rich & Famous (2)

Oddly enough, Churchill’s sleeping habits were certainly more normal than those of his enemies. German Führer Adolf Hitler, a notorious insomniac, was so exhausted from his late-night work sessions that he was fast asleep when the Allies invaded France in June 1944.

Michael Phelps’ high-altitude sleep chamber

American swimmer Michael Phelps takes his training seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he works out even when he’s sleeping. The champion Olympian sleeps inside a pressurised 9,000-foot sleep chamber that forces his body to adapt to the altitude while he slumbers.

The sleep chamber costs approximately $15,000 and reportedly has a huge effect on physical performance. Phelps revealed the sleep chamber during a CNN interview before tweeting it to the world later in the day.

Featured Image Credit: / sjhaytov (Via Custard Online Marketing

Sleeping Habits of the Rich & Famous (2024)


How many hours does Tim Cook sleep? ›

He spends the first hour of his day reading user comments about Apple products, which he believes is crucial for focusing on the external factors important to the company. Cook manages to get around 7 hours of sleep every night, going to bed at about 9:30 PM.

What is the 10 3 2 1 0 rule for sleep? ›

Eliminate caffeine 10 hours before sleep. Cut alcohol 3 hours before bed. Stop working 2 hours before bed. Stop screen time 1 hour before bed.

How many hours of sleep does Martha Stewart get? ›

Martha Stewart, chair of Martha Stewart Omnimedia

She also has a TV show, radio show, and product lines in stores like Staples and Michaels. Stewart keeps an impressive schedule while running her business, and according to CNN Money, she sleeps less than four hours a night.

What are the sleep habits of the most successful people? ›

Also, remember that half of our list got at least 7 hours each night, including Tim Cook, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey, so there are plenty of ultra-successful people who get plenty of rest. The likelihood is that you will be able to approach your work best when you're well rested.

How many hours does Elon Musk sleep? ›

Musk revealed in an interview with The Full Send podcast that he tends to sleep for around six hours every night and immediately checks his phone upon awakening. A billionaire's sleep hacks include raising his bed by 3 inches (5 centimeters). Additionally, he advises not eating three hours before heading off to sleep.

How many hours does Mark Zuckerberg sleep? ›

Zuckerberg also prioritises sleep and makes sure that he gets proper eight hours of sleep to recharge himself and prepare for the next day's challenges.

What is the 80 20 rule sleep? ›

If your little one is under 5 months, your day is full of naps. Aim for 1-2 naps per day in the crib or bassinet. If you have a baby 5 months or older, I recommend using the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time we try to have naps at home in that “best” environment, and 20% of the time we can be flexible with naps on-the-go.

What is the golden rule of sleep? ›

Set and stick to a sleep schedule. Follow a regular sleep-wake routine with 7-8 hours of sleep which is sufficient for adults. Once this becomes habitual, you will always wake up refreshed after a restful sleep.

What is the 15 minute sleep trick? ›

To promote your bed-sleep connection, follow the quarter-of-an-hour rule: if you notice that you aren't asleep within around 15 minutes of going to bed, try getting out of bed, go to another room go through your wind down routine until you are feeling sleepy-tired and ready to return to bed for sleep.

How many hours of sleep does Oprah get? ›

Oprah Winfrey gets 8 hours of sleep every night. She go to bed around 10 pm and wake up at 6 am. Every night Winfrey write on her gratitude book and in the morning instead of start the day checking her phone she clean her face, take care of the dogs and exercise.

How many hours did Albert Einstein sleep? ›

Albert Einstein, a household name that has inspired many a crazy hair day and who is most famous for his theory of General Relativity, was a huge fan of catching some Z's. He would sleep an average of 10 hours a night as well as taking daytime naps.

How many hours did Einstein sleep? ›

Albert Einstein is said to have slept 10 hours per night, plus regular daytime naps. Other great achievers, inventors, and thinkers – such as Nikola Tesla, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Leonardo da Vinci, and Sir Isaac Newton – are said to have slept between two and four hours per day.

What time does Oprah go to bed at night? ›

Life Guru: Oprah Winfrey

The talk show host sleeps between 10 in the evening and 6 in the morning, logging eight hours of sleep. Creating a work-life balance, Oprah disengages from all her projects through meditation. In addition, the last thing she does before sleeping is journaling.

What is the simple habit that leads to better sleep? ›

Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.

Is Elon Musk a night owl? ›

The Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter CEO, who referred to himself just last year as “fairly nocturnal,” has a history of pulling all-nighters and sleeping under his desk to get work done.

Which CEOs sleep 4 hours? ›

Take Vlad Tenev, CEO of financial platform Robinhood. He averages just over four hours of sleep a night, he told Axios. He's usually actually sleeping fewer hours than that on the weekdays, and making up for it on the weekends.

How often does Jeff Bezos sleep? ›

Running one of the world's largest companies doesn't stop Jeff Bezos from getting his eight hours of sleep. While the Amazon founder says sometimes getting eight hours is impossible, he's very focused on it. Why? "I think better.

How many hours does Tim Cook work in a day? ›

He's all about raising the bar, not just for himself but for his employees too. He's on a mission to extract the best from everyone and ensure Apple stays at the forefront of technology. So, how many hours does Tim Cook work a day? Brace yourself — it's 11–12 hours.

How long does Jeff Bezos sleep a night? ›

Jeff Bezos' sleep schedule

In 2016 Bezos told Thrive Global that he likes to get 8 hours of sleep every night, “Eight hours of sleep makes a big difference for me, and I try hard to make that a priority. For me, that's the needed amount to feel energized and excited.”


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